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Ask Thor
The rant
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 Xenogears
("I am if I finding my purpose." -- Fei)
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 See how many typoes you can count! The archives await.




[Space left intentionally blank in honor of I Can't Think Of A Good Monologue day]

ASCII Mad

Hi. This is James Donahue. Do you have any latest word on RPG Maker? Is it still on a cancelled status from ASCII (or AGETEC)? I wanted to know because I have a lot of RPG games in my mind to make if ASCII (AGETEC) does release RPG Maker in the US. AGETEC reveiled the 1999 line up and they have announced Fighter Maker, but RPG Maker was never to be seen, and I am now very angry at ASCII about it.

-- James Donahue

Latest word is there's still no word. I guess it must be one majorly difficult translation, because I can't imagine RPG Maker not selling well. Besides, should RPG Maker make it to the states, I would order everyone to buy at least one copy each and every Ask Thor for a full month. You hear that, AGETEC? Port, port, port!

Look for Rad Racer 3 in 3rd Q '99

dear thor,

Why is square making a sequal to one of its worst games ever (if not the worst) Saga Frontier, yet they don't seem to want to make a sequal of one of their greatest ( if not the greatest ) chrono trigger? It just doesn't make sense to me and i figured that you in your infinite wisdom could give me an answer. i mean with time travel there are so many possibilities.

disgruntled gamer,

-- crono811

Good one, dude. Though we could endlessly debate if SaGa Frontier was "good" or not (please don't), it's generally disliked by the masses. Like it or not, when most people bring up SaGa Frontier, it's usually compared to Beyond the Beyond and Secret of Evermore. There's just no denying that SaGa Frontier wasn't a hit; it has a cult following at best.

Chrono Trigger on the other hand is the game more people would like to be continued than any other, at least, as far as I can tell. I receive three or four letters a day asking for details on a CT sequel... I've received no letters concerning SaGa Frontier 2. Not one. Ever. Out of nearly four thousand letters. We're talking major disinterest, people.

While it's silly to expect Square to obey their fan's every (and often conflicting) whim, one must wonder if they can expect to sell many copies of SaGa Frontier 2 in America--or if they even care at all. It's not like Another Mind has any chance of a US port.

The most shocking letter in RPGamer history

Yo, Sexypants (you said so)

Yesterday, after beating Zelda:TooT, a feeling of happiness invaded me. Filling my body with warm fuzzy feeling, not felt in such a long long time. Upon internal reflection, I realized that I get this feeling every time I beat an amazing video game. Final Fantasy VI and VII both did this, as did Xenogears and many more. After fondly recalling these instances, I realized just how beautiful video games are, and how unneeded all the useless bickering that occurs throughout the video game community is. So, I'm just writing to tell all of my fellow RPGamers for one day, just smile, and enjoy video games, without bashing them to shreds.

Have a Nice day!

-- Ian Williams

Wow. This letter is freaky as Hades. He doesn't even act as if his opinion is the Word of God--and should anyone disagree with him, they're mentally disabled. What does this tell us? Well, first, Ian here is somewhat of a rarity. Ian is a content gamer, something we just don't see much of these days. Ian appreciates the overall RPG experience instead of dwelling on shortcomings. Ian is also very, very high. Come on Ian, share with the rest of the class.

Whappah!

Grittings, Antrim:

Why is it that a person (a strong person, like Yang from ff4, but a person nonetheless) can do as much damage with two punches as can a highly trained warrior can with two sword strokes (Cecil)?

Yang didn't just punch, he had gloves with sharp claws strapped to his hands. And even if he was weaponless, I think it's fine to shrug off a little reality in favor of fun, balanced gameplay. :D

p.s. aikido is cool.

-- clockzero

Aye, but it does lose its shine after a while. My main problem was that my Sensi was not only underqualified to teach, she was a sadist. Her little brother was in the class, and she loved to show us what not to do by, well, basicly beating the allmighty living Hell outta' him. I didn't particularly like the kid, but I don't think anyone wanted to watch Big Bertha (as we called her) twist his body into pretzel-like positions while the carrot-topped youth was screaming like a baby. Not a pretty sight.

That FF7, I tell ya. What a chatterbox.

Hey, Thor,

On to my real question about the FF7 FMV, specifically the speech in them....yes, there is actual speech in one or two FMV clips, for those who haven't noticed. When the Sister Ray is preparing to fire in Midgar, a voice says over a PA system, "Radar systems, go. Sister Ray target: confirmed. Entering discharge preparation phase. All workers should evacuate to their designated areas..." Sage advice certainly, but my main point is that the lines were in clear, unaccented English, and I must wonder whether they were from the beginning, or whether they were translated for the US release. Either is plausible, but I haven't been able to find out on my own and have been forced to consult ancient deities. Since the Greek and Assyrian pantheons aren't returning my email, that puts you next in line. Can your divine resources answer my question? Or can you at least help me figure out what the background radio voices are saying in the other clip when the helicopters are flying over the newly-transferred Sister Ray?

-- Kunou-chan

Either Kunou's been sampeling some of Ian's wares, or I was totally enthralled with the eye candy, 'cause I certainly don't remember any voice. If you're right though, then this is a job for...!

Someone else.

Like, someone with access to FF7j. How 'bout it, guys?

Xenogears 101
(Xenogears. Xenogears. XENOGEARS!)

Thor,

On Friday, a person wrote in and said that the reason why the Chapter 5 reference was made for the different lives that Fei lived during Xenogears. Well, he said that they were in this order:

1. The survivor of the Eldridge.
2. Abel
3. Kim
4. Lacan
5. Fei

Unfortunately, he is wrong. The survivor of the Eldridge IS Abel. If you play the game, they tell you as to how Cain, and the Ministry were created. They were created by the original Elly, that being the Elly you know and love combined with her other half which is Miang. After Cain and the ministry were created, women were also created. One of them being Elly, and she was the one who found Fei, and how the cycle began. They also tell you in the game that being the survivor was how he met up with Elly.

In fact, if you think about it, Abel was probably the child of the inventor of either the Zohar Modifier or Dues. One of those two. After all, that's probably the only way he would even be allowed near such an important, and probably top secret, piece of equipment. At any rate, I could be wrong, because unless I was the one who made the game, then there will always be a possibility that I am wrong. So don't think I'm some almighty god that knows everything, because I'm not.

Another thing a writer was talking about, was how the final bosses are angels. Well I personally beleive that all it means is that the evil bad guy trying to become god, try to look like god. Hey, if you can control what the heck you look like, well then you'd use it and make yourself into, well like Thor (if you really are as attractive as people claim you to be.) Now then, if you want to look like God, and since you don't know what God looks like, you look like what you think is God, and that is an Angel. Or something similiar. Hey, if you were insane and thought you can become God, you wouldn't want yourself to look like a demon now, would ya?

-- CCMax

I like this guy. He writes a damn good letter, he admits he could be wrong, and he's obviously more than a little intelligent--anyone who would sit down and ponder why Square baddies look like gods instead of assuming it's just Christian symbology can't be that dim of a bulb.

...don't really know what he meant about the "people claim you to be" bit, though. Unless he or she knows me personally, all RPGamers are equally clueless about my looks. Consider yourselves lucky. Your innocence shall only last until this Thursday. Mwahahha!

Well... it's zany. You have to give him that.

Hey Thor.

I recently conducted an experiment of my own. It seems that in recent square games, characters have donned alternate personalities when they are rendered unconscious, so I found a hard wall and banged my head against it until I was knocked unconscious. When I woke up, though, everything was the same. No special building destroyed, no pedestrians bleeding on the asphalt, nothin'(well, there was this cloud with a wicked artery in the sky, but we won't get into that). I was wondering if you could help me out. What am I doing wrong?

-- Anthorny

You're probably not depressed and pacifistic enough. Get a hold of Ian Williams (he simply must have plenty of... connections) and have him order you a box full of Ben Stein's Wonder Boo Hoo Pills. Then all you need is a quick nap and you'll be destroying your town in no time!

Ewps.

"My love is my sword"??

Geez, I TOLD you that three weeks ago! Remember:

"My love is my sword"
"If I were you I'd stay way from thoughts like that" Dekar says that, a couple of times actually (He REALLY needs a girlfriend) Once at the shrine after the fight with Idura, and later after the second fight with Idura at the top of Narcysus(did I spell it right?) tower.

Well,I guess that's that. No more dead monkeys please, It tooks weeks to get the stench out of the house, and I got guest coming this weekend.

-- SpoonyBard

Yeah, yeah, you're right. Hey, no skin off my nose: picking quotes ain't my department, only the contest... hey, what are you, too good for my dead monkeys? Grr! Man, you're lucky I ran out, or I would give you such a dead monkey.

Extreme RPGing

Hey, Thor.

About "Where the HELL am I?" difficulty: a particular branch of this has become a *huge* problem with the advent of 3D games with rotating POV. Even when the game lets you know exactly where you are in the storyline and what needs to be done next, lately it'll leave you as lost as Ryouga from Ranma 1/2. I've nearly been reduced to tears trying to get through some of Xenogears' dungeons (and even *towns) -- with so many possible perspectives, it's a real chore trying to find landmarks and return to them.

On the one hand, it's really cool to look at these 3D environments and wander around in them. On the other, when you just want to get *out* of there and get on with your life, and you can't figure out which way to go, and you're getting attacked at every step, and when you finally get where you're going you have to make a tricky jump that can leave you back where you started... I'd call that poor game design.

-- Sweeney Todd

Poor game design indeed. The most unconfusing 3d game I've played recently is Zelda 64. Even though it's in 3d, you rarely feel as if you're lost. And as annoying as Navi may be, having her home in on "clues" really helps sometimes.

Xenogears is much more confusing than Zelda 64, though I must admit, so far--I'm nearly done with the Battler Contest in D Block--I haven't really minded. Something about small dungeons which are highly interwoven and 3d really tickles my fancy. I especially liked the scary forest near the beginning of the game, which is one of the tiniest "dungeons" I've ever played, but gave you an eerie sense of enormity.

Irritating Pogo stick! HAHAHAHAHA! I ROCK!

What? Did I read right?

How could you say Xenogears' dialouge is awful?! I've played games with good translations (WD games) and I've played games with horrible translations (FF7, FFT) and Xenogears did NOT seem to have a bad translation. Sure, the conversations were very lenghty, and they did occasionally seem to stray from the subject, but how exactly does that make the translation so bad?

--a puzzeled, and slightly irritated Pogo

Ask and you shall receive. Just skip past the Quickies for what you seek.

Quickies: Off topic sillyness and shortarse corrections.

A fellow named "Blarg" insisted he came up with the phrase "Blarg", and insisted I stole it from him, and not my wicked, wicked ex girlfriend. Pish. // Makkuro redefined the meaning of "nitpicking" when he wrote: "You made a most horrid error in this Monday's Ask Thor! You said that Kefka's size was 32*32 pixels. As all know, the characters in FF VI are all 16 pixels wide and 32 pixels tall." I see no need for further comment. // An unnamed RPGamer wondered why I don't print the e-mail addresses of people who write in to Ask Thor. Because then they would be flamed by zillions of angry people every time someone disagreed with them, Unnamed RPGamer. // Another anonymous dude wondered: "Um, what the %#$! is an AFGamer?" Attractive Female Gamer. See? I do too answer questions. // David wanted to point out that the Palom quote posted was not a direct translation from Final Fantasy 4j, but rather taken from a translated rom hack by a group known as J2E. Allrighty then. // And finally, David Raine pointed out that there were enemies named "Blargs" in Super Mario World which resided in lava and tried to knock over your raft for no other reason than they were feeling grumpy. I told you Blarg is everywhere. Now just keep watching....

Thor Stuff

OK. Rant time. You'll probably disagree with me, but I ask you to do the following:

  1. Read the entire rant. Slowly.
  2. Mull it over a minute.
  3. Re-read the rant.
  4. Depending on if you disagree or agree:
    • Send me a letter calling me various names because I had something less than flattering to say about your favorite game.
    • Send in a letter saying why you agree with me. (Yeah, right. Like I can see this happening.)
  5. Drink a refreshing can of Dr. Pepper.
If you do not agree with the aforementioned requirements, please close your internet web browser at once and cry yourself into a dark and restless sleep filled with nightmares your conscious mind couldn't possibly begin to imagine.

Agree to my little request? Good. Rant time:

I really, really detest Xenogears' script. I don't know if it's because I've been writing a lot more lately (I have a little article called Ask Thor, you may have heard of it) or if I was just too young to care about things like this before, but I'm growing quite weary of the dialog. Allow me to explain, using as few pretentious literary terms as humanly possible. (Mostly 'cause I don't know many, heh heh.)

Reading Xenogears is a chore for me. There's just no joy in it. I love the storyline, I love the overall plot, I even dig the character design--Citan rocks. Hell, I don't even mind what the characters are saying most of the time, just how they say it. The translation seems to be written by someone who has very little love of the English language. By this I don't mean typoes or totally nonsensial ("Off course!") sentences; I mean generally dust-dull and TV dinner bland text.

For one, Fei never seems to stop asking questions. He "Huh?" and "...?"'s more than a lifetime Mac user trying to figure out Linux based computer. Rarely is it that someone can say anything to which Fei doesn't reply, "What? Huh? Hrmm? Eh? ...?". I understand the need to establish that Fei doesn't understand, but can't we just assume he didn't get it when Citan continues his speech? It's not like Citan would explain anything if he thought Fei knew what was going on--God forbid.

Another problem is the "Rename Gear" code. On my copy (and a friend's, so I know this isn't a unique defect) of Xenogears, you can't name a Gear anything ending with "S". If you do, the "S" is chopped off. Also, there's a dubious null character which insists on displaying before Weltall's new name, so everytime a character refers to Fei's gear, I read: "Hi! ' Necrobot' is finished!". Finally, one admittedly petty rant: during the Battling Contest winning screen, they say "Weltall" no mater what you name your mech. A minor problem, but enough to ruin any good suspension of disbelief you had going.

I understand that Xenogears is a very good game. I also understand a Xenogears fan review was removed at request of the author because he received so much hate mail for giving it a 7. (Not a 3, guys. A 7. A 7. Sheesh.) So start writing. Tell me why you love Xenogears' dialog, tell me it isn't important, tell me what a big stinky-poo head I am. But before you send off that flame, read this little example of the kind of crap you have to wade through in Xenogears.

"Shut up, I can see that.
I snuck in from the duct... not.
I was reparing the duct.

Maybe it'd be better if you just settle down and get to work?
Not sewer cleaning but..."

-- An anonymous NPC

I rest my case. :D

- Thor "Burn me, I like it." Antrim
I'm right I'm right I'm rightrightright! Nyah nyah.

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